The Niger state correspondent of Channels Television, Mr Emperor Simon, has been assaulted by men of the Niger state Police command.
Also the TV station’s cameraman attached to the Niger state office was also assaulted and wishked away by the police on Tuesday.
According to Mr Simon, the Channels TV’s team where in Tafa local government for a follow-up story on the disappearance of the Returning Officer for the local government in last Saturday’s council election when the incident happened.
He said the team ran into a protest by youths who were expressing their misgivings over the cancellation of the outcome of the poll over the alleged disappearance of the Returning Officer and was caught in the commotion.
“No sooner had the protesters started blocking the Kaduna – Abuja highway than the policemen at the Tafa local government Secretariat started shooting sporadically into the air to disperse the crowd ” he explained.
He noted that the police use “canister, live ammunition” to disperse protesters, adding that “they also beat up myself with stick and gun butts and have taken the Cameraman,” he lamented.
Mr Simon explained that his cameraman is been held at the Divisional headquarters in Sabon Wuse.
The state chapter of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemned the “harassment” and “intimidation” of its members who were on the lawful duties.
In a statement by its chairman, Alhaji Abdul Isah and Secretary, Abu Nmodu, the union said the assault coming a few days after its national officers who were on duty tour of the state adjudged Niger as one of the journalists-friendly state, was “distasteful and unacceptable”.
The union called on police authority to rein in its officers and men, warning that it would no longer tolerate assault on its members henceforth.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has also condemned the police for assaulting its members who are on peaceful protest and the journalists.
Speaking with newsmen on phone, the state secretary of the party, Barrister Suleiman Zhigun, said the party sensed foul-play when the announcement of poll result which from polling units collation indicated it won, was delayed only for SIEC to come out later that the Returning Officer has disappeared and the election cancelled.